April 30, 2015
New MDH report shows HIV/AIDS cases increased slightly in 2014
Elevated rates seen among certain communities, age groups, and areas
HIV diagnoses in Minnesota increased by 2 percent last year, with 307 new cases reported in 2014 compared to 300 in 2013, according to the new report from the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH).
A total of 10,718 HIV/AIDS cases have been reported since MDH began tracking AIDS in 1982 and HIV in 1985. An estimated 7,988 persons are living with HIV/AIDS in the state.
“Although we saw a slight increase in the overall HIV case reports, some of our communities are carrying a much heavier burden of HIV disease,” said Dr. Ed Ehlinger, Minnesota Commissioner of Health.
Among the findings in the report:
- New HIV cases remain concentrated within the Twin Cities metropolitan area (86 percent).
- More than one in three HIV cases reported in 2014 were under 30 years old.
- The number of new HIV cases attributed to injection drug use remains low in Minnesota.
- Communities of color and American Indians experienced the greatest health disparities when looking at infection rates by race and ethnicity compared to white non-Hispanics.
- Among people living with HIV/AIDS in Minnesota, communities of color and men who have sex with men of all races and ethnicities continue to be overrepresented.
- While the number of new HIV cases occurring among females increased by 7 percent, women of color accounted for 80 percent of all new female cases.
- No significant change in the number of new male cases was seen from 2013 to 2014. Male-to-male sex was the main risk factor for males of all ages with known risk factors, making up 67 percent of male cases. Young males 20 to 29 years of age accounted for 31 percent of all new male cases in 2014.
“Higher HIV infection rates are seen with communities that experience inadequate employment, education, income, and housing,” said Commissioner Ehlinger. “While we continue our work addressing those broader determinants of health, we can immediately impact these rates by improving access to HIV prevention education, testing, treatment, and care services for these communities.”
Health officials noted that HIV infection remains highly preventable by consistently practicing safer sex, including using condoms and limiting the number of sexual partners, as well as avoiding the sharing of needles or equipment to tattoo, body pierce, or inject drugs. For those non-infected people unable to adhere to prevention techniques, daily prescription medications are available to help reduce the chance of getting HIV.
“Get tested for HIV if you are sexually active and get into treatment if you are infected,” said Ehlinger. “Those in treatment can substantially reduce their likelihood of transmitting HIV to sexual partners.”
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that health providers screen all people 13 to 64 years of age. Annual HIV screening is also recommended for those who have had unprotected sex, a new sexual partner, or shared needles or equipment to inject drugs. Sexual and needle-sharing partners of HIV-infected patients also need to get tested and treated.
Health officials expressed concern that recent increases in the rates of other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) could impact HIV rates. Chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis all increased in 2014, according to MDH data. Some of these STDs can increase HIV transmission or the likelihood of getting infected by two to five times.
To help curb the epidemic in Minnesota, MDH currently funds 26 community-based programs for HIV prevention and/or testing work. More information on those programs can be found at: HIV Prevention Grantees
In addition, the Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS) helps people living with HIV or AIDS access health care through its insurance, drug reimbursement, dental, nutrition and case management programs. More information can be found at DHS: HIV/AIDS
The HIV/AIDS Surveillance Report – 2014 can be found on the MDH website at HIV/AIDS Surveillance.
Information about HIV is available from the Minnesota AIDS Project (MAP) AIDSLine, 612-373-2437 (Twin Cities Metro), 1-800-248-2437 (Statewide), 1-888-820-2437 (Statewide TTY), text “AIDSLINE” to 839863, or by email at: email@example.com. MAP AIDSLine offers statewide information and referral services, including prevention education, HIV risk assessments, HIV testing and referrals to HIV testing sites.